ELIDA – Lima Central Catholic kept nipping at Lima Senior’s heels.
But each time the T-Birds would make a significant run, the Spartans would have the answer with a steal and a lightning-fast layup.
Lima Senior pulled away in the final minutes to notch a 57-42 victory over LCC to win the 21st Vicki Mauk Holliday Classic Friday at the Elida Fieldhouse.
Lima Senior has won the last six Mauk Classics.
“I love our own gym, but I love it here,” Lima Senior guard Destiny McDonald said. “I like the intensity (of the tournament). I like the competition.’’
Lima Senior is 9-3. LCC is 5-6.
“It’s the second night in a row that I was really proud of the way that we closed games,” Lima Senior coach Vince Halliday said. “And it’s all done on the defensive end of the floor. Getting those defensive stops and making it hard for the opponent is what it’s all about. And we made our free throws down the stretch.’’
Minster has won the most Mauk titles with eight.
In the consolation game, Spencerville posted a 53-50 victory over Elida.
The championship game was a rematch from Dec. 15 when Lima Senior knocked off LCC 68-54.
McDonald led the Spartans with 16 points, seven in the final key quarter.
Nakiya Sigman had 15 points with five 3-pointers.
Talor Washington and Ryann Miler both had nine points for Lima Senior. Ajohlon Bullock had eight points and four boards.
“Nakiya was five of 10 on threes and A.J. (Bullock) played really well,” Halliday said. “She (Bullock) provided that energy and played the entire fourth quarter.
“And if we had one (a tournament most valuable player), I’d give to Destiny (who had 36 points for the tournament).’’
And consider McDonald took a few bruises Friday and was taped up after a scratch drew blood on her arm.
“I hurt my thigh, both of my knees and my arm,” McDonald said with a grin. “But we got another win. It starts on the defensive end for us. When we play good defense, steals, rebounds and everything else comes to us.’’
Rosie Williams kept LCC close with 16 points and 17 rebounds.
But in the end, the T-Birds couldn’t overcome committing 27 turnovers, some against the Spartans’ press, but others came on steals and deflections in the halfcourt.
“They are so athletic and so tough to get runs against it because they are going to get steals,” LCC coach Ron Williams said. “We got it down to four, but they would get a deflection or an offensive rebound. They made the plays that’s why they’re really good.’’
Lima Senior led 29-21 at the half.
LCC stayed close until the final 3:32.
The T-Birds knocked the Spartans’ lead to 41-37 with 7:25 to go.
But after a Sigman 3-pointer and McDonald’s pair of free throws, the Spartans’ lead grew to 46-37.
Back came the T-Birds.
Williams’ layup brought LCC within 46-40 with 3:32 to go.
From there, the Spartans defense forced several turnovers in a row and Lima Senior went on an 11-0 run.
That pushed the Spartans’ lead to 57-40 with 47 seconds left.
During that run, Bullock hit a layup and a fast-break layup. McDonald also had a fast-break layup and sank 3 of 4 at the foul line to put the game away.
LCC won the boards 31-21.
Lima Senior’s idea was to press on and off and play a sticky halfcourt man to prevent easy lobs to Williams down low.
Even still, Williams had eight points and eight rebounds at the half.
Williams finished the night hitting 8 of 10 from the field.
“I was really happy with our effort and happy with the way we played,’’ coach Williams said.
All-tournament: Named to the all-tournament team were the following: Rosie Williams (LCC), Destiny McDonald (Lima Senior), Nakiya Sigman (Lima Senior), Emma Leis (Spencerville) and Amira Freeman (Elida).
Spencerville 53, Elida 50
Spencerville’s Nelaya Burden didn’t score the first night of the tournament.
But she made up for it in the consolation game with 17 points, including hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer to give the Bearcats the lead to stay 44-41 with 4:04 to go.
“We talked a lot about how good players respond,” Spencerville coach Greg Ekis said of Burden’s bounce-back performance. As a whole, we had a really nice game to respond from playing against a really good Lima Senior team.’’
Spencerville held off an Elida charge by hitting 4 of 4 at the foul line in the final minute. Kelsey Shaffer hit 2 of 2 at the line, while Emma Leis hit 2 of 2.
“Those four were really big free throws,” Ekis said. “We shoot between 75 and 77 percent at the line.’’
Leis had 15 points, six rebounds and three 3-pointers.
Alex Carter had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Bearcats. Abbygayle Satterfield had two points and eight rebounds.
“Our effort was phenomenal tonight,” Ekis said.
Amira Freeman and Hayleigh Bacome both had 14 points for Elida.
Cienna Kuhn had nine points.
Spencerville is 8-2. Elida is 2-7.
Spencerville led 53-50, but Elida had two final shots in the final five seconds.
After a timeout with 5.5 seconds to play, Kuhn missed a 3-pointer.
Bacome grabbed the rebound and missed a 3-pointer with a second to go.
Elida had a 17-13 lead early in the second quarter after back-to-back three pointers by Freeman.
Spencerville then rallied behind Burden to rip off an 11-0 run.
That gave the Bearcats a 24-17 lead with 4:21 left before the half.
But the Bearcats couldn’t pull away.
Spencerville led 39-36 after three quarters.
Spencerville won the boards 29-27.